According to Mike Puma, Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman, and Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post, Major League Baseball is investigating into claims that the Mets misused the disabled list.
As of right moment, neither the precise nature of the inquiry nor the precise accusations or parties involved are known.
Billy Eppler, the former general manager of the Mets who left his position earlier on Thursday, is assisting with the probe but has not yet had a formal conversation with league representatives.
Many people were taken aback by Eppler’s departure since, on the surface, he seemed to be prepared to step in as the front office’s new No. 2 to President of Baseball Operations David Stearns.
Eppler advised Mets senior management that he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team, according to the Post’s source, and that is what led to his resignation because of the league’s investigation.
Although this method is theoretically prohibited, it is nevertheless sufficiently common that MLB seldom opens an official inquiry into inappropriate IL use.
That would imply that the claimed offense by the Mets is especially flagrant, or (speculatively) that the league may have issued the team an early warning and is now conducting an investigation because Eppler’s executive staff didn’t stop.
Regardless of the specifics, it amounts to “another embarrassing exit for a Mets official,” in the words of the authors of the New York Post.
Jared Porter, a former Mets general manager, and Mickey Callaway, a former manager, were both accused of sexual harassment within the previous five years.
The Mets fired Porter, and MLB placed Callaway (who had left the Mets to become the Angels’ pitching coach) on the ineligible list.
Additionally, ex-manager Carlos Beltran was sacked owing to his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing controversy before he had officially managed a single game, and interim general manager Zack Scott was removed when he was charged with DWI.
When further information about the league’s inquiry becomes public or when MLB releases its final conclusions, if any, more information will be available.
Incorrect usage of the injured list first seem to merely indicate that the Mets put a player or players on the 10-day, 15-day, or 60-day IL when they weren’t genuinely ailing, enabling the team to add a new player to the 26-man or 40-man rosters.
The game has included these “phantom IL” transactions for many years. When a player is having trouble, a club may assign him on the injured list with a less obvious injury, such as arm pain or a weak back, when in fact the player merely needs a break to regroup physically and mentally.
Such a maneuver has been taken by every baseball organization at some time, and in certain instances, players have publicly acknowledged that they aren’t genuinely injured.
Of course, improper IL assignments aren’t nearly as significant as some of those off-field issues, but it’s conceivable that Eppler or the Mets may be subject to punishment as a result of the league’s inquiry (suspensions, fines, etc.).
If a player gains an unwarranted reputation of being “injury-prone” or if service time is involved, the MLB Players Association may also take issue.